Manny Pacquiao won a unanimous decision over a taller and heavier Antonio Margarito to become the World Boxing Council’s Super Welterweight champion.
Pacquiao, 17 pounds lighter than his opponent, earned a guaranteed $15 million plus as much as $10 million more from pay-per-view proceeds as he captured his eighth world title.
Pacquiao pummeled Margarito, closing his right eye. He connected on 411 of 713 punches, most of them to Margarito’s head and face, according to an official count shown on the HBO network, which broadcast the fight.
“It’s hard,” the Filipino boxer said in a televised interview. “I really did my best to win the fight. He’s strong and a very good fighter. I got hurt in my body and face against the ropes. I was very lucky.”
Referee Laurence Cole interrupted the later rounds several times to check Magarito’s face and make sure the fighter could see and could defend himself.
“Manny was very fast,” Margarito, who landed 135 of 312 power punches, said through an interpreter. “We were doing good until I got cut. No way I was going to quit. I am Mexican and we fight to the end.”
Margarito, 32, at 5-feet, 11-inches weighed in at the 150- pound limit the day before last night’s fight, while the 5-foot- 6 1/2-inch Pacquiao, 31, was 144.6 pounds. At fight time at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Margarito weighed 165 pounds; Pacquiao 148.
Margarito (38-7-1, 27 knockouts) was assured $3 million with the possibility of doubling his payday to $6 million with cable television sales. He is banned from fighting in California and Nevada following an incident in which illegal hand wraps were discovered under his gloves before his loss to Shane Mosley.
Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) said he would return to the Philippines where he was elected this year to congress. He did not discount, however, returning to the ring.
“I am still strong,” he said. “I’m going to continue to fight.”
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